Blue and Orange Opening Day Live Blog

Every year, I have had a yearly tradition to get together with my friends Joe and Travis to watch the Mets’ home opener together. This tradition dates back fourteen years, all the way back to 1999, when Joe and I attended our first Mets home opener together. We used to go to the game every year, and then as home opener tickets became harder and harder to obtain, we at least vowed to get together to watch the game. In recent years, even with the abundance of available home opener tickets, we have still been watching at home, no longer quite as motivated to make it out to the ballpark as we used to be.

Unfortunately, this year has changed. Joe has to work, and Travis has family responsibilities, so our yearly tradition has been broken. So what am I to do? Certainly not go to work; I haven’t worked during a home opener in thirteen years, and I’m certainly not going to start now. No, I’m still going to take the day off, but instead of spending it with close friends, I’m going to spend it with the entire internet. Besides, who cares if I’m spending the nicest day of the year to date in my dark basement watching TV and writing about it o the internet? I have three TVs down here, each of them tuned into a different game. It’s the one day of the year Mets fans have even a twinge of optimism, so let’s do this thing.

Keep checking back throughout the day for updates from the Mets game, the Yankees game, and whatever else I can find on worth watching. I mean, who knows how long I will want to keep blogging, so take advantage while you can. We start at 1 and go all day.

Final Update at 4:16

Let’s hope for a 1-2-3 ninth. This has been a long game.

Scott Rice is in to pitch. Making his MLB debut after 14 years in the minors. Good on him.

Nick Hundley strikes out for the first out recorded by Rice in the major leagues.

Rice then strikes out Maybin for the second out.

Will Venable grounds out to Murphy, and the ballgame is over/put it in the books/whatever your favorite game ending Mets broadcaster catchphrase. Mets win 11-2, Scott Rice finally pitches in the majors, good times all around.

Thanks fro joining me for the live blog. I don’t know if we will have a ton of these this year, but expect more stuff up on the site over the course of the season. I’m feeling motivated.

Updated at 4:06

Thatcher throws one pitch and induces a groundout from John Buck. Time for the ninth.

Updated at 4:05

Mark Kotsay stays in the game in left field. Insert Jamie Kotsay reference here.

Marlon Byrd grounds out for the first out.

Gary Cohen gets fooled by a strike call by Tim McClelland once again as Nieuwenhuis strikes out.

That will be all for Dale Thayer as the Padres are bringing in Joe Thatcher, I guess to get some work since Thatcher is a lefty and the next batter, John Buck, is a righty, and not one you would think warrants bringing in a specialist.

Updated at 3:59

Collin Cowgill moves from center field to left, Kirk Nieuwenhuis stays in the game and takes over center field for the Mets, and now pitching is Scott Atchison.

Alonso grounds out to Daniel Murphy for the first out.

Mark Kotsay dribbles it back to the mound. Atchison almost overthrows Davis but gets the second out.

And Jedd Gyorko grounds out to Tejada for the third out. Three groundouts end things pretty quickly.

Updated at 3:54

Dale Thayer, with an awesome beard instead of an awesome mustache, now takes the mound for the Padres. He had a pretty decent year last year. Not like the Mets couldhave used a good reliever last year or anything…

Wright draws a walk to keep the inning going.

I love hearing Keith Hernandez talk about his last season in Cleveland. Apparently, he will be going on the trip to Cleveland this year. Gary jokingly asks Mex if they will be throwing a parade for him, to which Keith jokes, “Yeah, I’m going to be wearing body armor.”

Ike Davis will be wearing the golden sombrero today, striking out for the fourth time. The Chris Wilcox Curse strikes again; yesterday, I post he will be the team’s second best player, so of course he’s the only player who has yet to reach base today. Mets up 11-2, Red Sox up 5-2, and Cubs up 3-0.

Updated at 3:44

We have a final in Washington: 2-0 Nationals. Good for them. Replacing them on the left TV is CUbs/Pirates, with the Cubs holding a 2-0 lead on AJ Burnett and the Pirates.

Hey, Brad Brach will be the second ever player from my alma mater, Monmouth University, to pitch in the majors. It seems appropriate that he pitches against the Mets as three former friends who went to Monmouth are not getting together for the first time in fourteen years.

And Brach is off to a nice start, striking out Marlon Byrd for the first out. Brach looks to be pretty good.

Duda draws his second walk of the day, as he’s having a slightly better game here today than Ike Davis with the two walks.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis will pinch run for Davis, which is a definite upgrade on the basepaths and in the field.

Apparently, Brandon Lyon and John Buck have been good friends since they were seven years old. Pretty cool that they not only both made it to the majors, but that Buck has had the chance to catch Lyon, both in New York and in Toronto.

Buck hits a bullet into left field for a single. Third time he has been on base so far. He keeps this up, and Travis d’Arnaud will never get called up. (he won’t keep this up).

My man! Ruben Tejada takes it the other way for a shallow single into right field. No runners score but the bases are loaded in a pinch hit situation.

Jordany Valdespin is the pinch hitter. Valdespin (of course) swings at the first pitch and Nieuwenhuis is forced out at home for the second out. Not quite Philly all over again.

Collin Cowgill may or may not have just hit a grand slam. It is, grand slam called by the umpire. Could have been called either way, but grand slam is the correct call. Nice hitting by Cowgill. Expect somebody to use the “More Cowgill” headline tomorrow.

Murphy follows up with a single and that will be all out of Brad Brach. After looking good striking out Byrd, he looked pretty much like you’d expect a pitcher who went to Monmouth might pitch.

Updated at 3:26

After a first-pitch single by Denorfia, Brandon Lyon gets Cabrera to ground out to end the inning. Still 7-2 Mets.

Updated at 3:24

The results of the Verizon Text Poll: 49% of Mets fans say the infield will be their strength, 43% of Mets fans say the starting rotation will be their strength, 5% of Mets fans are outright trolls and voted for the outfield to be the team’s strength, and 3% of Mets fans are straight up dumb and voted for the bullpen. The real answer, of course, is the broadcast booth.

David Wright makes another nie defensive play, charging a pinch hitter Jesus Guzman grounder to throw him out for the first out.

Amarista flies out to Cowgill for the second out as Niese goes over 100 pitches.

And apparently that will be it, as Terry Collins and Dan Warthen apparently agreed to keep Niese in until he got to 100 pitches. Back in a moment with a new pitcher.

Updated at 3:18

Anthony Bass enters his third inning of work. You don’t see that too often in the big leagues anymore.

Murphy hits the ball up the middle, but Amarista makes a nice play to throw out Murphy for the first out.

Apparently Jon Niese was not happy that he was informed he would be removed after the sixth inning. I don’t expect anything less out of Niese, but he looked like he was laboring a little bit in the sixth inning and I think it’s the right call. We will see if he gets his way.

Wright pops up to Amarista for the second out.

Davis strikes out for the third time today. Not a great game for him.

Looks like Niese is coming out to pitch the seventh. We will see how short of a hook they give him here.

Updated at 3:11

Yonder Alonso greets Jon Niese by blasting a hanging curveball over the right field fence for a solo home run. 7-2 Mets.

Quentin grounds out to Wright for the first out.

Gyorko doubles down the left field line, just out of David Wright’s reach. Niese might be getting a bit tired, as the bullpen gets up and running.

Hundley strikes out on three pitches for the second out.

Today’s Verizon Text Poll: What do you think the Mets strength will be this season: A. Starters B. Relievers C. Outfield D. Infield. I vote C, because I’m a troll. Keith suggests bench should be an option, which makes Ron Darling laugh as he astutely points out, “If the bench is your strength, you have to get them in the starting lineup!” Gary rightfully suggests the booth be an option, and that honestly might be the strength of the 2013 Mets.

Maybin hits a comebacker toNiese, which is easily handled for the third out. 7-2 Mets.

Updated at 3:00

John Buck flies out to right-center for the first out. First time Buck has been retired today.

Tejada grounds out to first base for the second out.

Strange to see ESPN Radio NY as a sponsor for the Mets’ TV broadcast, considering their long-standing history with WFAN. I wonder if that might be something to keep an eye on, not knowing when the Mets’ radio deal expires with the Fan.

Niese is raking today! Singles up the middle to keep the inning going.

Cowgill strikes out to end the inning. First quiet inning for the Mets since the first.

Updated at 2:54

Alexi Amarista, who came into the game during a double switch last inning for Cody Ransom (Jedd Gyorko moved to third in the switch, so I guess it was a triple switch) grounds out for the first out. It was a close play, Amarista ran pretty fast.

Somewhere, Joe A. Dig is angry right now. Kevin Burkhardt is interviewing Doc Gooden. Gooden says he couldn’t sleep the night before his opening day start in 1985. Wonder if it was butterflies, or something else that keeps you up all night?

Denorfia its the ball hard, and David Wright makes a nice play to stop the grounder and throw out Denorfia for the second out. Nice defense by David.

Cabrera grounds out to Murphy to end the inning. Niese has retired seven in a row.

Updated at 2:47

Daniel Murphy means business, even on his birthday. He greets Anthony “Don’t Call Me Michael” Bass with a first pitch single to drive home Niese to make it 5-1 Mets. Cowgill holds at third.

The ball gets away from Nick Hundley to allow Murphy to take second base.

Wright grounds to third, but hard enough to drive in Cowgill for the Mets’ sixth run. The Mets now have a six way tie for the team RBI lead between Ruben Tejada, Jon Niese, Marlon Byrd, John Buck, and Daniel Murphy.

Davis strikes out, as he seems to be the one Met who doesn’t have anything going today so far.

Byrd grounds it into left field for a single that scores Daniel Murphy and breaks the six way tie for the RBI lead. 7-1 Mets.

Duda pops out to Gyorko to end the fourth. Worth pointing out: the Nationals/Marlins game, which is still 20, is in the bottom of the seventh, despite starting at the same time as the Mets/Padres game.

Updated at 2:35

Volquez walks Niese on four pitches. He does not look well right now. I can’t see him pitching into the fifth inning.

Keith blames Gary and Ron for a poor road trip last year that sent the Mets into a bit of a tailspin. When Gary (rightfully) points out that the team did not exactly turn things around, Keith backtracks and says that they handled things well. I can’t do these ridiculous exchanges justice.

Cowgill doubles it into the gap sending Niese to third. I knew Cowgill should have been the opening day starter in center!

We’re getting a double switch now, as Edinson Volquez doesn’t even finish the fourth. Not a good outing.

Updated at 2:30

An image from the basement here today:

Nick Hundley flies out to right field to kick off the fourth.

The view from the three TVs in my basement.

The view from the three TVs in my basement.

Nick Hundley flies out to right field to kick off the fourth.

While Emmy Rossum, who sang the national anthem today, is talking about enjoying watching the players’ butts, Maybin dribbles it to the catcher for the second out.

“As an offensive unit, you always want to give your pitchers a little bit of a bulge…it always makes them loosen up a little bit better.” The Mets announcers can’t help but start laughing at Keith immediately after he talks about Niese’s bulge.

Niese goes to a full count with Ransom but gets him to strike out for the 1-2-3 fourth. Still 4-1 Mets, 2-0 Nats, and 4-0 Sox.

Updated at 2:23

Murphy hits the ball hard but right at Gyorko for the first out.

Wright goes the other way for his first hit of the season.

GKR are going on about the way Edinson Volquez wears his hat. It’s an odd conversation, but then again, I can’t bring myself to care about such things.

Wright steals second again on two strikes, with no throw. I guess Wright wants to make a run at Jose Reyes’ stolen base mark.

Davis chops it up the middle. Gyorko is able to throw out Davis but Wright moves to third.

Marlon Byrd drives the ball to the gap to single and scores David Wright. 3-1 Mets. Good job by Quentin getting to the ball quickly to hold Byrd to a single.

Duda draws a walk. Good pitch recognition. See, I’m trying to be more positive about Duda.

Buck ropes a single that scores Byrd from second. 4-1 Mets.

Tejada strikes out to end the inning, but the Mets get two more runs back. So far, today has been full of nothing but good vibes. Let’s hope that continues.

Updated at 2:03

Volquez grounds out to Murphy for the first out.

During a plug for Bob’s Discount Furniture, Gary Cohen admits that he used to take his kids to Bob’s to eat their free popcorn and candy while looking at furniture. Keith jokingly accuses him of stealing, which is a pretty good point. Guess there were some lean years in the Cohen household while he was over at WFAN?

Niese walks Denorfia, who reaches base for the second time.

Niese then hits Cabrera, which puts two men on for the middle of the order for the Padres. Let’s hope for the best here.

Lucas Duda shows off some nice glove work for possibly the first time ever, running a long way to track down a fly ball by Alonso for the second out.

Carlos Quentin pokes a little single up the middle just past Tejada’s glove to drive in the first Padres run of the game. 2-1 Mets.

Niese avoids too much damage by striking out Gyorko to end the inning 2-1 Mets, 2-0 Nats, 4-0 Sox.

Updated at 1:53

Byrd works a full count but grounds out to start the second inning.

We get our first “rib eyed steaks” mention from Keith Hernandez, talking of Duda’s 13 spring training RBIs. He goes vegan in his first at-bat of the season, though, striking out.

John Buck draws a walk. Still no hits for the Mets, but they are getting batters on base, at least.

My man! Ruben Tejada drives a triple into the corner to score the Mets’ first run of the season. 1-0 Mets. Tejada for MVP.

Jon Niese pokes a single into left to score Tejada. 2-0 Mets. Ruben Tejada and Jon Niese have more RBIs than David Wright for at least a few minutes this season.

Cowgill strikes out and the ining is over. 2-0 Mets, 1-0 Nats, 4-0 Red Sox as CC Sabathia is not pitching well.

Updated at 1:39

Hundley lines out to Murphy to start off the 2nd.

Maybin grounds out to Wright.

Gary Cohen seems to enjoy picking on home plate umpire Tim McClelland and his delayed strike call. As if on cue, Niese throws a nasty curve that could have been called either a strike or a ball, Cohen calls it a ball based on McClelland’s not saying anything, and then a split second later, McClelland calls strike three. It’s one of those exchanges that works much better watching live, trust me. Red Sox and Nats up 1-0, Mets and Padres still tied at 0.

Updated at 1:32

Your Mets’ opening day lineup:

  1. Collin Cowgill
  2. Daniel Murphy
  3. David Wright
  4. Ike Davis
  5. Marlon Byrd
  6. Lucas Duda
  7. John Buck
  8. Ruben Tejada
  9. Jonathon Niese

Cowgill pops up to Gyorko for the first out. Gyorko almost Castillos it, but holds on.

Murphy flies out to Quentin for the second out.

Wright grounds it to Cody Ransom, who can’t handle the grounder and Wright reaches on an E5. The Mets will not be perfect game’d on Opening Day.

Wright steals second base with no throw after Nick Hundley drops the pitch. Nice jump by Wright.

It’s for naught, though, as Davis strikes out to end the inning. Still 0-0 in the Mets game and the Yankees/Red Sox game, but the Nationals somehow scored a run in their game to go up 1-0.

Updated at 1:21

Your opening day lineup for the San Diego Padres:

  1. Chris Denorfia
  2. Evereth Cabrera
  3. Yoder Alonso
  4. Carlos Quentin
  5. Jedd Gyorko
  6. Nick Hundley
  7. Cameron Maybin
  8. Cody Ransom
  9. Edinson Volquez

The Mets game appears to e starting a bit later than Marlins/Nats and Red Sox/Yankees, the first three games of the afternoon.

Jonathon Niese will not be pitching a no-hitter on Opening Day, giving up a base hit to Denorfia on the first pitch of the season.

Cabrera sacrifices Denorfia to second base.

Alonso grounds it back to Niese for the second out, and Quentin draws a 2 out walk.

Gyorko grounds out to Wright in his first Major League at-bat and the first inning is over without incident. We have 3 0-0 scores after the visitor’s first.

Apparently the SNY production crew is still in spring training mode as we briefly hear Gary and Keith talking with the mics hot. Nothing too crazy is said, sadly.

Updated at 12:58 PM

One of my favorite traditions of Opening Day is the introduction of every Met, and monitoring the crowd reaction to each player, to see how Mets fans feel about their team this year. Let’s see what Mets fans think about this year’s team:

  • Clubhouse Staff: Ray Ramirez is booed a little bit, nobody else gets much of a reaction. Jim Malone kind of looks like Goldberg.
  • Coaching Staff: Tom Goodwin gets a nice hand, Tim Teufel is beloved, Bob Geren and Dave Hudgens seem to get the same reaction, nobody knows the bullpen catchers or coach. Goodwin gets the best reaction
  • Jordany Valdespin: Nice reaction, probably for the Phillies homer.
  • Justin Turner: A “I recognize that random bench guy” reaction
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Good reaction
  • Anthony Recker: Nobody knows who he is
  • Mike Baxter: Huge reaction, I assume for saving Johan’s no hitter
  • Jeurys Familia: No reaction
  • LaTroy Hawkins: A “hey, I recognize that veteran” reaction
  • Matt Harvey: Best reaction so far
  • Brandon Lyon: Polite applause
  • Dillon Gee: Nice reaction
  • Bobby Parnell: A “hey, he was the best reliever from last year” reaction
  • Greg Burke: No reaction
  • Scott Atchison: No reaction
  • Jeremy “Hef” Hefner: Nice reaction
  • Scott Rice: A small spattering seems to know of his story and he gets a decent reaction
  • Josh Edgin: A “hey, I remember he was in the bullpen last year” reaction
  • Terry Collins: Warm reception for the manager
  • Collin Cowgill: A “first guy introduced” reaction
  • Daniel Murphy: Good reaction. Mets fans love Murph.
  • David Wright: Best reaction so far, and I assume the best, period.
  • Ike Davis: Strong reaction for the man.
  • Marlon Byrd: No reaction. Not a good sign.
  • Lucas Duda: I don’t know if they’re booing or chanting “DUUUUUUUDE.” I will be polite and say it was the latter.
  • John Buck: A “this guy is our catcher? What happened to d’Arnaud?” reaction.
  • Ruben Tejada: Not much of a reaction.
  • Jonathon Niese: A “this guy is the Opening Day starter? reaction

Nobody booed this year, except for possibly Duda. It’s strange, more players seemed to get booed back when there were expectations on this team, but with nobody expecting anything anymore, nobody seems to care.

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